A Very Bad Idea from Russian Railways

From an article in this week’s Economist:

A more radical approach to powering trains is that proposed by Russian Railways, which says it is designing a nuclear-powered train in conjunction with Rosatom, the state nuclear giant. Able to generate immense power, such a train could, in theory, move extremely fast or be used to supply power to a remote town or industrial site, using an on-board reactor similar to those found in nuclear submarines. Even if this nuclear-powered train takes to the rails, however, concern about the consequences of a derailment will probably impede widespread adoption.

Woah. That is nuts.

I take a pretty pro-nuclear power stance generally. A more sensible storage policy for waste and the construction of new safer nuclear power plants would make a huge difference in carbon emissions in the US, but this idea is pretty out there.  Imagine the security, and safety issues; there’s a reason we don’t build power plants in the middle of cities. Also, as The Economist notes trains sometimes derail. If  a train had a nuke on it and it hit a truck… that would be bad.

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